Book Review Guidelines

Thanks for your interest in writing for Transpositions. This online journal exists to create conversations between Christian theology and the arts, interacting with relevant ideas, trends and scholarship for popular and academic audiences, and we invite book reviews that further this goal. If you are interested in reviewing a book for Transpositions, please send a query to reviews [at]

Before writing a book review for Transpositions,  please read 2-3 recent reviews to get an idea of what we are looking for, and read the following guidelines and formatting requirements.

1. Guidelines

  • Length: Generally speaking, we ask for 500-600 word reviews, though if we feel it necessary, may allow up to 1000 words.  
  • Language and Style:  Since we desire to write to both a popular and academic audience, please avoid overly technical language and style, but if using technical terminology is necessary, make sure this terminology is adequately explained. All submissions will be proofread and small editorial changes may be made.
  • Content: An excellent book review both summarizes and analyzes the main argument. If the book is about apologetics make sure to say that in your review, and to tell the reader what the author said about apologetics. What was unique or different? What might be of interest to our readers? If the book is a collection of essays, please give succinct summaries of each essay, or alternatively, engage a representative essay.  Do not merely recite chapter titles as summaries. See here for an example along these lines.
  • Author Bio: If this is your first time writing for Transpositions, please submit a short, 2-3 sentence bio with your review.

2. Formatting

  • Header: The top of each review should display the book’s bibliographical information, which should be formatted this way:

William D. Romanowski. Reforming Hollywood How American Protestants Fought for Freedom at the Movies. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2012, xv + 298 pp., £18.99/$29.95 cloth.

  • Opening Sentence: The first sentence or two should introduce the author(s) or editor(s), and give a sense of the book.  For example:

In this thorough, fact-filled account of the interaction between Protestantism and the American cinema, William D. Romanowski, Professor of Communication Arts and Sciences at Calvin College, Grand Rapids, MI (USA) and author of Pop Culture Wars and Eyes Wide Open, “aim[s] to restore Protestants to American film history and tell a story that goes to the heart of the role of film and religion in a democratic society.” [p.4]

  • Citations: Quotes and footnotes may be formatted one of two ways:

1. If all quote(s) refer to the book being reviewed please use in-text citation as follows:

“This book investigates ways that religious views and commitments informed approaches to film as popular art, culture, industry and social influence.”[p. 9]

2. If quote(s) and footnote(s) refer to two or more sources please format the quote(s) as follows:

“This book investigates ways that religious views and commitments informed approaches to film as popular art, culture, industry and social influence.”[1]

And the corresponding footnote as follows:

[1] William D. Romanowski, Reforming Hollywood: How American Protestants Fought for Freedom at the Movies(Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2012), 9.

Finally, before you do anything else, please read (and follow) John Updike’s Six Rules for Reviewing Books.  And if you need additional guidance, see John Stackhouse’s excellent three-part series:

How (and Whether) to Review a Book (Nonfiction)
On Book Reviewing: Judging Properly
And Now, the Other Kinds of Book Reviews

Please submit all reviews through our Book Reviews Submission Form.



  • Jim Watkins is the assistant editor and a regular contributor at Transpositions. Originally, Jim is from southern California and southeastern Texas, but sometimes he feels most at home in the landscape and coffee shops of the Pacific Northwest. He met his wife Emily at Wheaton College in Illinois, where he studied Studio Art (concentration in painting). For his PhD research, he is examining the relationship between divine and human creativity from the perspective of divine kenosis.